Food Assistance:

A Swedish Case Study

RCED-88-181BR: Published: Jun 23, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on Sweden's food assistance programs to determine: (1) the type of programs it has and how they operate; (2) whether it uses its agricultural surpluses in food assistance programs to reduce welfare costs; and (3) whether it uses any surplus disposal techniques that do not improve the nutrition of its citizens.

GAO found that: (1) Swedish local governments provide some food assistance to the general population and the needy, such as school lunches for all children and subsidized meal services for the elderly; (2) Sweden prefers to aid the needy through financial assistance because it believes that such aid does not stigmatize recipients as food distribution might; (3) Sweden disposes of its food surpluses primarily through subsidized export sales and contributions to international food aid programs; and (4) because Sweden does not have a large agricultural surplus, it is generally successful in eliminating its surplus each year through subsidizing consumer and institutional purchases of surplus food.

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